I had two incidents happen today that have made me shake hands with our friend, nostalgia, and wonder about the future.
The first one was when I was finishing up grocery shopping with my daughter (who is an excellent guide, because without her I would never find the bananas). I got a text from my friend, Jason, that read “Found: the Cedar Point Letters.” My jaw hit the floor in the fruit section. For those that don’t know, I spent two summers (1998 and 1999) playing in house bands at Cedar Point, entertaining the masses 6 times a day, 6 days a week. I attribute a lot of my musical growth to these summers (one of which you can read about here). And during that time, Jason and I wrote letters to each other, shooting the bull and basically catching up. I seriously hope that he kept all of the envelopes; I always drew on the entire front of the envelope (and sometimes on the back), turning it into one of the adventures that I’d be talking about in the letter.
Remember, this was a time when cell phones were still not that common with anyone less than executive status; I called my parents either collect, or by using calling cards. Yeah, collect.
The second bout of nostalgia came when cleaning out some of the boxes in the basement. I am always amazed at how much crap I can store in boxes, and just leave for years. Given that real estate is going to become a premium in March, I’ve been trying to slowly go through all of it in an effort to make room for future crap. It’s a vicious cycle.
Anyway, while I was throwing away a lot of the crap that was in my “things from high school that are of the utmost importance” box, I stumbled upon all of the notes that my girlfriend from junior year, Bonnie, wrote me. Aside from the fact that she dated all of these notes “1993″ (which floored me as I realized that’s ALMOST TWENTY YEARS AGO. TWENTY.), it was another reminder of “a simpler time.” We met through the Lansing Junior Symphony; she lived 30 minutes away, in a bustling metropolis (yes, that is sarcasm) known as Dansville. We’d exchange these notes on Monday, because that’s the one time during the week we saw each other. Given that this was a time of high long distance phone fees, Mom and Dave allotted me $10 a month for calling; anything above that I had to cover.
It bears mentioning that while I paid a couple of dollars here and there, I got Dave’s wrath one month, when my total fees were $9.96; 4 cents under the limit. He couldn’t believe I pulled that off.
But what really grabbed me about both of these trips down Memory Lane was my daughter. Is she going to have these types of nostalgic trips? In the digital age, I’m not so sure. This is a time of instant gratification, where people can say what they’re feeling right away and have it plastered (for good or for bad) all over the world. There’s no actual thought behind it. I read about people’s food choices daily on my Twitter feed and, while I appreciate that you’re all taking care of yourselves and eating well, I really don’t care.
Gone are the days of sitting down and really crafting a letter to someone, because you haven’t seen or heard from them in over a week, or even a month. You took time to write these; the recipients that received them knew that what you wrote was important and worthy of being shared. And when you didn’t see someone for a week, you’d read these letters again to connect with people that aren’t in the immediate vicinity.
And, gone are the days of finding those letters and notes in a box, tucked away from years prior, opening them and immediately feeling like you’re that awkward teenager again and having a flood of memories crash against your subconscious while Blues Traveler’s song, Canadian Rose, enters your internal iPod.